Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kettle Corn

What is your favorite kind of popcorn?

Are you having trouble answering that question? I certainly am. I love it all. Seriously. ALL OF IT. Movie theater popcorn. Microwave popcorn. White cheddar popcorn. (Fluorescent orange) Cheese popcorn. Salt and pepper popcorn. Buttered popcorn. Air-popped popcorn. Kettle corn. Really I'm not going to turn it down. EVER. I sometimes eat popcorn for dinner even though Scott continually tells me it is a snack and not a meal.

Recently I've been avoiding purchasing microwave popcorn and utilizing my air popper. The advantages of air-popped popcorn include the caloric intake (less butter if you drizzle it yourself), customizable seasonings (including salt), and the price (you can get a whole bag of kernels for $2-3 and it will last you). Most of the time I just air-pop the kernels and toss with a little bit of seasoning salt. However, the other day I was really craving kettle corn. So I did what I always do- googled homemade kettle corn and came across the following recipe. The key is to make the kettle corn on the stove top and to continually shake it while it is popping to avoid burning any sugar. Now I've made this at least 4 times in the past month. It is the perfect salty sweet snack. Making popcorn on the stove top is not quite as healthy as the air-popper but this kettle corn is worth it. And you probably have everything you need in your pantry right now. You should do it... I'll be right over :)

Kettle Corn (from Our Best Bites via Tracey's Culinary Adventure)
3 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2-3 tbsp sugar

Place the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add three kernels of popcorn. Cover and heat until the three kernels pop. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the kernels and the sugar in a bowl and toss to mix. Once the kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels and the sugar and mix immediately with a wooden spoon. Cover and heat, shaking the pot often until all the kernel (or most of them) are popped. Sprinkle with salt. EAT (by the handful)!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mole Pork Chops

Ok a few things:

1. I'm sorry I have been slacking for the entire month of March on my posts. It is just the fact that I've been really busy with work, both during working hours and at home. Lots to do and not enough time in the day.

2. Does anyone have any good sleep remedies? I'm guessing it is because my mind is going 100 miles a minute thinking about the things I need to get done but I am having the worst time sleeping at night. Yes, I've been drinking copious amounts of coffee but I stop by late afternoon so that shouldn't be the problem. Help me, please!

3. You guys rock (well those of you who are reading this post after the long hiatus). Thanks for sticking with me. Lots of yummy food to come. Promise. For now, enjoy this super easy recipe for mole spiced pork chops. I used a boneless pork chop (but you could certain use a bone-in one) and served it atop some leftover rice reheated with some corn, peppers, and chili powder. Super easy and quick. Perfect when your life is crazy busy.

Mole Pork Chops (adapted from Cooking Light's The Complete Quick Cook)
1 boneless pork chop (or bone-in)
1/4 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
dash of salt

Preheat George Foreman grill or grill pan.

Combine all the spices and rub over both sides of the pork chop. Place the chop on the grill and cook about 5 minutes (turning halfway through if using a grill pan) until cooked through.

Serves 1.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kale Strawberry Smoothie

Let's talk crazy college traditions.

At Hope College we had the Pull, a giant tug-o-war competition, and Nykerk, a singing/acting/speaking competition. At Duke University, we had graduate student campout weekend and everything that revolves around being Cameron Crazies. At the University of Illinois, they have this thing called Unofficial. Apparently it was a tradition started in the mid 90s so that the students could celebrate St Patty's day early because the actual holiday fell on spring break. From my understanding, it is an excuse to dress in green, drink green beer and party like, well, college students. As a person outside of the student life on campus, I had no idea that Unofficial was today. So imagine my surprise when my boss's office assistant asks if I'm wearing my green shirt in honor of Unofficial. Oh boy. Nope, I just picked out this shirt this morning without any thought. So I spent the rest of the day just trying to hide my shirt from everyone and waiting to get home to the safety of my apartment before campus got to crazy tonight. It's funny how the further you are removed from the ungraduate students, the less appealing these traditions seem.

Did you participate in any crazy college events?

In honor of those UIUC students celebrating Unofficial today, I bring you this green smoothie. Not quite green beer but certainly a lot healthier for you-- chalked full of nutrients from fruit, yogurt and kale! I think kale green smoothies taste more "green" than spinach ones, so feel free to sub in a handful or two if you don't want a kale taste.

Kale Strawberry Smoothie
10 strawberries, washed and halved
1/2 frozen banana
6 oz vanilla yogurt
5 pieces of kale, washed and thick stems removed
splash of fruit juice (as needed)

Place the strawberries, banana, yogurt and kale in a blender. Pulse on high until smooth. If you are having trouble getting it smooth, add a splash of fruit juice (any kind you would like) and pulse again. Use the juice to thin the smoothie to the consistency you desire.